Dharamsala, October 26: Tibetan Leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama Saturday said in the absence of any positive response from Chinese government to his sincere approach on Tibet issue he would now ask the fellow Tibetan people to decide the future course of action.
The 73-year old Tibetan leader said he is now loosing faith in dealing with the Chinese government, saying he had already made enough concession and sincere efforts on his part in seeking only greater autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule through his “middle way” policy.
The Tibetan leader, however, added that his “middle-way” approach has received support from increasing number of Chinese scholars and said he still holds faith in the Chinese people and has not given up on efforts to convince them.
The Tibetan leader made the statement during the 48th Founding anniversary celebration of the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) in Dharamsala, which serves as the base to Tibet's government-in-exile in northern India.
The Tibetan leader's comments come ahead of a new round of talks between his envoys and Chinese government officials at the end of October.
China has repeatedly accused the Dalai Lama of leading a campaign to split Tibet from the rest of the country. The Dalai Lama denies the allegations, saying he is only seeking a solution to the Tibet issue within the constitutional framework of the People's Republic of China.
"So far I have been sincerely pursuing the mutually beneficial Middle-Way policy in dealing with China for a long time now but there hasn't been any positive response from the Chinese side," the Dalai Lama said. “I have now asked the Tibetan government-in-exile, as a true democracy in exile, to decide in consultation with the Tibetan people how to take the dialogue forward," the Dalai Lama said.
The Nobel peace prize winner sent an unusually strong message to his fellow countrymen. He called on them to take greater role in deciding the future course of action, saying China has failed to respond to his sincere approach.
“I have always maintained, even in the Strasbourg Proposal (1988), that the final decision regarding Tibet will be made by Tibetan people,” the Dalai Lama said in addressing a huge audience who have come to see the school’s annual celebration.
Reiterating his earlier statements that the “issue of Tibet is the issue of Tibetan people and not an issue of the Dalai Lama alone”, Dalai Lama yesterday said the Tibetan masses would now make efforts to decide how to take the dialogue forward.
“The issue at hand is the welfare of the Tibetan people and is not about my personal status and affairs. It is about the problems that the Tibetan people were facing,” he said.
The Dalai Lama last month called a ‘special meeting’ of ‘all Tibetan exile groups for next month to discuss the progress of the talks and the situation inside Tibet’.
The Tibetan leader said he did this in response to the lack of any sincere approach from the Chinese government in the dialogue process and the worsening state of affairs within Tibet following the widespread anti-China protests from all sections of Tibetan people across the region earlier this year.
The 73-year old Tibetan leader said the massive demonstrations were an outbreak of long pending deep resentment of Tibetan people against decades of Chinese rule and its wrong policies practiced in the region.
“Even under extreme fear of repression, Tibetan people showed great courage in expressing their aspiration and, deep resentment and discontentment against Chinese rule,” His Holiness said.
Following the massive unrest, the Dalai Lama said, he hoped Chinese government would make productive efforts in finding a constructive solution to the Tibet problem.
“Unfortunately, the demonstrations in Tibet have been violently suppressed by the Chinese police and military. Besides, Chinese Government went on to create a distorted image of the situation and described the unrest as work of separatist elements to split China,” he said.
“From my side I have made all efforts and kept all door open for China to clear their mistrust and show evidence to prove their accusations against us,” he said, adding “but [Chinese side] showed no response at all”.
“In the absence of any appropriate and timely response from Chinese leadership, my position as the Dalai Lama is only becoming an obstruction instead of helping find a solution to the Tibet issue,” he said.
"As far as I'm concerned I have given up," he added.
“So, in the coming meeting Tibetan people must take serious responsibility to discuss the future course of action on Tibet and find out where what has stalled our dialogue process,” The Dalai Lama said.
The Dalai Lama Saturday made his first public appearance in Dharamsala since returning from Delhi on Monday after undergoing a surgery to remove gall stones.
In his speech, the Dalai Lama thanked Tibetans and well-wishers around the world for their prayers for his continued well being during his medical treatment.
"I have already undergone a successful surgery and I am doing absolutely fine now,” the Dalai Lama said.
“There is now no need to worry about my health,” the Dalai Lama told a huge public function attended by His Eminence the Gyalwa Karmapa Rinpoche and, senior leaders and officials of the Tibetan Government-in-exile.
Phayul, Sunday, October 26, 2008. Phurbu Thinley